You’re cruising down the bustling streets of Tampa, enjoying the sunshine, when suddenly, an uninsured driver crashes into your car. Now, your peaceful drive turns into a legal maze. This leaves you with one question: can you sue uninsured drivers?
Well, suing an uninsured driver for damages requires you to be informed and prepared so that you can properly safeguard your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. So, let’s navigate the legal landscape of Tampa to answer this question.
The Problem of Uninsured Drivers in Tampa
Uninsured drivers are not a rare breed in Florida. In fact, according to recent estimates, Florida consistently ranks among the states with the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the United States.
Shockingly, the Insurance Research Council reported that nearly 20% of Florida drivers were uninsured in 2019. While precise data for Tampa might differ, the city is undeniably impacted by this statewide issue.
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department has documented numerous incidents involving uninsured drivers in the Tampa Bay area.
Risks and Challenges Associated With Uninsured Motorists
The presence of uninsured drivers on Tampa’s roads poses significant risks and challenges. One of the most pressing concerns is limited compensation. Because, when an uninsured driver is involved in an accident, it can lead to a financial quagmire for everyone involved.
Unfortunately, without insurance coverage, it’s often challenging for victims to recover their losses, including medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.
This can leave innocent parties struggling to put their lives back together after an accident caused by an uninsured driver.
Florida’s Insurance Requirements
In the state of Florida, every driver must carry a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage to legally operate a vehicle. The basic insurance requirements in Florida are as follows.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
First, Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is mandatory.
PIP covers medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages for you and your passengers, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. And, the minimum PIP coverage required is $10,000.
Property Damage Liability (PDL)
Second, Florida also requires Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance, which covers damage you may cause to someone else’s property, such as their vehicle or a building. The minimum PDL coverage required is $10,000.
These are the basic coverage requirements, but many Floridians choose to purchase additional coverage options like Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) for added protection.
Suing an Uninsured Driver for Damages
While Florida operates as a no-fault insurance state, meaning that your own insurance typically covers your damages regardless of fault, there are circumstances under which you can sue an uninsured driver.
If you sustain severe injuries in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you may have the right to file a lawsuit.
Severe injuries often exceed the limits of your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement
If the accident results in permanent scarring or disfigurement, you may be eligible to sue the uninsured driver for damages that go beyond your PIP coverage.
In cases where a family member dies due to injuries sustained in the accident, surviving family members may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against the uninsured driver.
Discussing Potential Legal Avenues for Pursuing Compensation
When considering legal avenues for pursuing compensation after an accident with an uninsured driver, you have a few options.
You can file a lawsuit directly against the uninsured driver to seek compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering if your injuries meet the criteria outlined above.
If you have Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage as part of your own insurance policy, it can provide protection in cases involving uninsured drivers. UM coverage is designed to compensate you when you’re injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It can help cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages that exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Filing a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver
When faced with the necessity of filing a lawsuit against an uninsured driver in Tampa. It’s crucial to understand the process, step by step. While it can be challenging, pursuing legal action is often necessary to seek compensation for your losses.
Assess the Situation
Before proceeding with legal action, assess the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Ensure that your injuries or damages meet the criteria for pursuing a lawsuit, such as severe injuries, permanent scarring, or wrongful death.
Consult an Attorney
Seek legal representation by consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in cases involving uninsured drivers.
They can evaluate the merits of your case and provide guidance on the best course of action.
Investigate the Accident
Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, gathering evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, medical records, and other relevant documentation to build a strong case.
Notify the At-Fault Driver
Your attorney will formally notify the uninsured driver of your intention to file a lawsuit. This step may lead to negotiations or settlements before going to court.
File the Lawsuit
If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney will file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver.
This initiates the legal process and formally outlines your claims, including the damages you’re seeking.
Both parties engage in the discovery process. During this, they exchange evidence and give depositions. As well as conduct investigations to strengthen their respective cases.
Mediation or Settlement
You could attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement through a mediation. And, if you reach an agreement, you can resolve the case without going to trial. However, if you do not reach a settlement, the case proceeds to trial.
Hit by an Uninsured Driver? Contact RHINO Lawyers Today
We understand the frustration and hardship that comes with being hit by an uninsured driver in Tampa. In fact, your rights and well-being are our top priority. Our experienced team is here to guide you through the legal complexities of Suing an uninsured driver for damages.
Don’t face this battle alone; our dedicated attorneys are ready to fight for you. If you’ve been a victim of an uninsured driver, it’s time to take action.
Contact us today for a free video consultation or case review. Together, we can ensure your rights are protected and your road to recovery begins. Don’t delay; let’s start your journey toward justice now.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.